“In the classical world, it was the three white-robed Fates who spun, measured out, and cut the thread of life: Clotho spins, Lachesis measures and Atropos cuts. They were known as the Moirai to the Greeks–those who ‘apportion’ your time–and by the superstitious Romans by the euphemism of Parcae, ‘the sparing ones.'”
Excerpted from: Rogerson, Barnaby. Rogerson’s Book of Numbers: The Culture of Numbers–from 1,001 Nights to the Seven Wonders of the World. New York: Picador, 2013.